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Japan Kuril Islands Russia

Kremlin emphasizes Southern Kurils part of Russian soil (TASS)

The southern territories of the Kuril Islands constitute Russian soil, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, commenting in response to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s statement regarding Tokyo’s claims of sovereignty over the South Kurils.

“We do not agree with such a statement, this is the territory of the Russian Federation,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed.

That being said, Peskov assured that Moscow was ready for dialogue with Tokyo to solve sensitive issues. “Moscow has repeatedly affirmed its political will at various levels, along with Russian President [Vladimir] Putin confirming his political determination to pursue dialogue with Tokyo in order to find solutions to the pressing questions that remain on the agenda,” Peskov said.

On Tuesday, during a debate in the Japanese parliament’s lower house, Kishida said that Tokyo’s sovereignty allegedly extended to the southern Kuril Islands. He specifed that the parties should “solve this issue and not leave it for future generations”. The prime minister also added that the Japanese government was committed to signing a peace treaty with Russia, resolving the ownership issue of these islands.

Since the mid-20th century, Moscow and Tokyo have been holding consultations in order to reach a peace treaty following World War II. The southern Kuril Islands issue remains the key sticking point. In 1945, the whole archipelago was handed over to the Soviet Union. Tokyo laid claims to Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of uninhabited islands. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that Moscow’s sovereignty over the islands is enshrined in international law and cannot be called into question.